When to Go

The best time to visit is from early May to late October, when it's warm and the land is in bloom with grasses and flowers. It's also high tourist season, when many festivals take place.

In spring, wildflowers make a colorful, riotous appearance on the mountain meadows, rolling grasslands, and lush valleys.

Dry, sunny summers provide blue skies and long days, optimal for exploring and photographing the region. Afternoons, however, can be insufferably hot, and most tourists follow the locals' lead in taking a midday siesta. Clear skies last usually through October, while winter brings subfreezing temperatures and a dearth of travelers. Although solitude may have its charms, a few sights close for the off-season. Note that Xi'an suffers from severe pollution, which is at its worst in winter, when coal is burned for fuel.

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